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Discussion Starter #1
I'm still in the planning/dreaming phase, but in looking at points, I notice that ME and Pico don't have much variety which it comes to size/angle. Pico really only has one angle, whereas Atlas has #5, #7, and even a #10.

I've read more than once that Pico is better quality than Atlas, but will their one-size of switch be too tight for 80' passenger cars? Especially in station/yard setting? I want to use some form of diaphram between cars too.
 

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#6 points are fine for 80' cars. #8's look better though. I have one #8 Peco for a yard lead and it looks very good with cars rolling through it. My entire layout is passenger based.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have one #8 Peco for a yard lead and it looks very good with cars rolling through it. My entire layout is passenger based.
Is that part number SL388F/389F? I'm using AnyRail and its not quoting the "#" for me. :)

PS, may I see your layout plan for inspiration?
 

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For some reason that escapes me, Peco doesn't assign numbers to it's turnouts, which is why Anyrail doesn't show it. But yes, the numbers you quoted are the "large radius", which is a #8
 

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Peco has a North America line that numbers the turnouts to what the US is used to.

Peco #8 Turnout
 

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Actually, passenger cars don't need more acute switches (TOs) than any other car with swiveling trucks as long as there is clearance for car's dimensions and coupler gathering-range ..
The reason for acute switches on passenger lines (#10 - #24, say) is so that at high speed the train can cross over to another track without passengers feeling it, dining car tableware not falling, or cars toppling over..But in the yards they're not any different than long diesels, GG1s, or 2-10-2s... at 3 MPH...
 

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I'm still in the planning/dreaming phase, but in looking at points, I notice that ME and Pico don't have much variety which it comes to size/angle. Pico really only has one angle, whereas Atlas has #5, #7, and even a #10.

I've read more than once that Pico is better quality than Atlas, but will their one-size of switch be too tight for 80' passenger cars? Especially in station/yard setting? I want to use some form of diaphram between cars too.
Sunsanvil;

Normally we don't even mention, far less nitpick, spelling. However there are two different companies with similar sounding, and spelled, names; "Peco", and "Piko." With your spelling of "Pico", It could be either.
Peco is the British firm that makes points (turnouts) which are listed as "small", "medium", and "large", rather than giving frog numbers like # 4, # 6, #8, etc. I think that's the one you mean.
Pushing long passenger cars with diaphragms backwards into a station track will look, and work, much better on a high frog # turnout. I would use # 6s or even # 8s, if you have room for them.

Micro Engineering turnouts are very good, but they come only in # 6 right, and # 6 left. That doesn't mean you can't use them, #6 turnouts would be OK. Micro Engineering turnouts also have the DCC friendly configuration factory installed.

Peco turnouts are also excellent quality, and they offer a wide range of turnouts. I've heard that they use the same frog on their small, medium & large turnouts. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it may be what you are referring to when you say "Pico really has only one angle." Even if it is the same frog, the approach, and exit tracks angles are different, and Peco has a reputation for few, if any, derailments. Peco make three types of turnouts. "Insulfrogs", "Electrofrogs", and "Unifrogs." The Unifrogs have the DCC friendly configuration.

Atlas actually makes two different lines of turnouts.

Their "Snap Switch" Is their low end turnout and it has a unique geometry. It has one straight route and one curved route. In N-scale the curve is quite gentle (19" radius) The HO-scale Snap Switch has an 18" radius curved route which, for HO-scale, is a very tight curve. Snap Switches also have plastic frogs. I don't recommend using Atlas Snap Switches in your yard, and trying to back 85' cars with diaphragms through a string of them.

Atlas's other turnouts are their "Custom Line" series. These are Atlas's better quality turnouts. They have metal frogs which have the option of being powered. They also have the normal geometry of most other turnouts, two straight route diverging at the angle of the frog. Like Peco, and most other commercial turnouts, (Micro Engineering excepted) Atlas turnouts have flangeways that are too wide and too deep to meet the specs. of an NMRA gauge. This can cause derailments, but is easily cured by adding shims to get the flangeways into spec. This makes the turnouts considerably more reliable. The file "improving Atlas Turnouts" explains how this modification is done. The other files cover a wide variety of model railroad subjects. Look through them if you like.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you very much for the spelling correction!

I was confused at first by Peco's switches in that they all have the same angle on the diverging track, but I see now that despite that fact they do offer three different radius. This confused me because with other brands I'd looked at, both the angle and radius are different across their various models (so when I laid the Pecos out in AnyRail and saw the same angle, I wrongly assumed they were the same radius as well). Learning learning learning.
 

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Thank you very much for the spelling correction!

I was confused at first by Peco's switches in that they all have the same angle on the diverging track, but I see now that despite that fact they do offer three different radius. This confused me because with other brands I'd looked at, both the angle and radius are different across their various models (so when I laid the Pecos out in AnyRail and saw the same angle, I wrongly assumed they were the same radius as well). Learning learning learning.
Sunsanvil;

No wonder you were confused by Peco's turnout designations. Your not the first, and won't be the last, person to be confused about this "small", "medium" & "large" business, instead of frog numbers like every other brand uses. Still, they are excellent turnouts.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Does anyone have any experience with Peco's Code 55 3-way turnout? I can see a place in my plan where it would be particularly handy, but I wonder if the added complexity means I'd be asking for trouble. :)
 

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I have not personally used one, but I did design a layout for a guy about 5 years ago that used one. I'm sure I would have heard about it if he had any issues (I sure heard about everything else that went wrong... the majority of which were things I recommended against and he insisted on anyway).
 

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Does anyone have any experience with Peco's Code 55 3-way turnout? I can see a place in my plan where it would be particularly handy, but I wonder if the added complexity means I'd be asking for trouble. :)
Sunsanvil;

I have not used a Peco code 55 three way turnout, but I have used a Shinohara three way turnout. Three -way turnouts have a couple of different designs. Probably the more common one is a "lap" turnout with two pairs of points, one slightly ahead of the other. This type also has two frogs, and if they're metal frogs, each one has to be switched to the proper polarity for each of the three routes. The wiring for this is complicated and I would not use the lap turnout if you can simply use it's track equivalent, a right hand turnout feeding into a left hand turnout. That wiring is a lot simpler. The other three way turnout type has short rails that pivot out and in to select the route. This is like the mating of a slip switch and a trolley type single point turnout and its a mechanical nightmare that I would not use.

Also, I have used Peco "code 55" turnouts. (Unifrogs) Peco has a very strange idea of what code 55 means. Their "code 55" turnouts actually have no code 55 rail. Instead they use code 78 rail, with a lot of it buried in a thick plastic tie strip. That part's OK, it makes for a super strong bond between rails & ties. However Peco's code 78 rail has two flared bases, instead of the normal single base. One is at the bottom, where you would expect it, and the other is set about .055" below the rail top. I think the idea was to let Peco's code 78 rail flex track & turnouts connect to actual code 55 rail track. For reasons surpassing any rational explanation, Peco neglected to cut a slot below this upper rail base for a rail joiner to slide into. This renders the upper base completely useless and means that Peco's "code 55" track and turnouts can't be connected to any other brand of (real) code 55 track or turnout. It can be done, but requires some major Dremel surgery and soldering the resulting mess together. Peco "code 55 track will connect easily to any brand of code 80 track, or to more of Peco's unique "code 55" track.

Traction Fan 🙂
 
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